Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wild Mushroom, Sweet Pepper & Leek Risotto


Risotto gets a bad rap for being difficult to prepare. Nothing could be further from the truth. The technique is actually very easy. I also find the process relaxing. I stand in the kitchen with a glass of wine and slowly...ever so slowly...add broth, a ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and then add another ladle. I don't really have to concentrate so this dish is perfect when hosting a dinner party. We can all stand in the kitchen talking, laughing and taking turns stirring. The whole process should take between 20-30 minutes.


I also love the versatility of risotto. If you keep the proportion of liquid to rice consistent, you can add whatever meat, vegetable and/or cheese combination you like. Plain with just shallot and cheese is delicious, or you can get as fancy as you like. Spring pea and onion?  Roasted eggplant, tomato and basil? Shrimp & lemon? What sounds good to you? Add handfuls of fresh herbs in season or use half olive oil and half butter. Get creative and, in the comments section below, please share your favorite way to prepare risotto.



Wild Mushroom, Sweet Pepper & Leek Risotto
(serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a first)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large leek, cleaned and sliced (white & pale green part)
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lb wild mushrooms, wiped & sliced
1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms, wiped & sliced
42 oz vegetable broth
3/4 cup sherry
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (shredded)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper.

Warm olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add leek, red pepper, shallot and large pinch each salt & pepper. Saute until tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes.

While vegetables are cooking, add broth and sherry to a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until warm. Reduce heat to low.

Add rice to vegetables and stir ensuring rice is coated in oil. Add 1 large ladleful of broth to rice and vegetable mixture and occasionally stir until broth is absorbed. Repeat process 1 ladleful at a time until rice is very creamy, tender but still al dente. Ensure you do not add each ladleful of broth until the prior one is absorbed. Taste a bit of rice to ensure it is cooked to your liking.

Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve sprinkled with the parmigiano-reggiano.



Springtime means the start of sensational side dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network we are celebrating Grains. Do you have a favorite grain recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.




best,
diane

I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Roasted Asparagus Nicoise



This is the salad I will be eating all spring. Roasting asparagus and peppers bring out the sweetness of the vegetables. Adding a vinaigrette made from Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, shallots and ingredients like olives, tomatoes and capers creates a delicious, warm salad perfect for all your spring menus.


I like to serve the Nicoise with roasted chicken, beef or salmon. Or, for a vegetarian option, try pairing with Parmigiano-Reggiano and crusty french bread. Add a glass of lightly chilled rosé wine, and dinner is served. Enjoy!


Note, traditional Nicoise salads include anchovies, potatoes, and tuna. You can include any/all of these ingredients in this recipe, but I prefer it as is.

Roasted Asparagus Nicoise
(serves 8)

2 lbs asparagus
1 lb mini sweet peppers
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 Nicoise or Kalamata olives (pitted and rough chopped)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon capers
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel if stringy. (You probably will only need to peel very thick stalks. Thin stalks are usually fine as is).  Place asparagus in single layer on prepared sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, roll the asparagus in oil until coated on all sides. Add peppers to the pan and drizzle with oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 15-30 minutes or until the asparagus and peppers are beginning to brown and caramelize. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the stalks. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, shallot, vinegar and a pinch each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until thoroughly combined. Drizzle 1/4 of the vinaigrette over the warm asparagus and peppers. Toss to combine.

Place the asparagus and peppers on a large platter. Scatter the olives, tomatoes and capers over the top. Drizzle another 1/4 of the vinaigrette over the platter. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side.


Springtime means the start of sensational side dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network we are celebrating Asparagus. Do you have a favorite asparagus recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Lemon Bowl: 20 Asparagus Recipes for Spring
Feed Me Phoebe: 
White Asparagus with Herby Sabayon Sauce
Dishing with Divya: 
Mock Guacamole with Asparagus
Dishin & Dishes: 
Asparagus Spinach Coconut Soup
Creative Culinary: 
Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Low Carb Pasta with Asparagus Pancetta and Pine Nuts
Weelicious: 
Italian Asparagus Sticks
The Heritage Cook: 
Asparagus Caprese Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Roasted Asparagus Nicoise
Red or Green: 
Spicy Roasted Asparagus & Leek Soup
Swing Eats: 
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus with Rosemary
The Cultural Dish: 
Asparagus Milanese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Asparagus Carbonara with Garlic Crumbs
Taste with the Eyes: 
Savory Matzo Brei with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon
The Mom 100: 
It's Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan
FN Dish: 
The Asparagus Motto: The Simpler, The Better


best,
diane

I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ceviche Appetizer


When I was a child, I was fortunate enough to travel with my family each October to Mazatlan Mexico. My mom, dad and both my sisters would take a week off of work or school and fly to this beautiful, warm, beach community to spend a week exploring, swimming in the ocean and, of course, working on our tans. (We were in middle school and high school during these years so an extra week of vacation was so cool!.). We also spent a lot of time eating fresh fish, vegetables and fruit. One of the dishes we discovered was Ceviche. Every night prior to our main course, a huge bowl of this fresh from the ocean fish dish would arrive accompanied by homemade salsa and a basket of hot-from-the-fryer corn tortilla chips. We were hooked.


Ceviche is a salsa type dish made with freshly caught white fish, onion, peppers, tomatoes and cilantro "cooked" in a vinaigrette made with lime juice, vinegar and a touch of olive oil. The lime juice and vinegar pickle the fish creating a taste and texture similar to poaching, but with amazing flavor. Nothing like raw fish or sushi. Delicious.

I decided my ceviche recipe would be a perfect dish for Easter this year. Spring is here, fresh produce is starting to appear at the market and the fresh, spicy, flavorful fish appetizer will be a perfect side dish with roast garlic chicken, asparagus, salad, warm potato salad and a Meyer lemon tart. How good does that sound?


Ceviche Appetizer
(serves 4)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb very fresh white fish (I use halibut), cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup Anaheim chile, diced
1-2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, minced (Start with 1 tablespoon and add more if you want it spicier)
1 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Warm corn tortilla chips as an accompaniment. (If not making from scratch, spread store bought chips on a rimmed baking sheet and warm in 250-degree oven for 5-7 minutes)

In a medium sized bowl, combine lime juice, vinegar and olive oil.  Stir in fish, onion, chile, jalapeno and tomato. Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

Approximately 1 hour prior to serving, stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve chilled with warm corn tortilla chips.

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My other Easter Dinner Menu items:

Springtime means the start of sensational side dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network we are celebrating Easter Side Dishes. Do you have a favorite Easter recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Green Goddess Avocado Toasts with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Tahini Sauce
Dishing with Divya: 
Thai Roasted Vegetables with Peanut Coconut Sauce
Haute Apple Pie: 
Smoked Gouda Scalloped Potatoes
Food for 7 stages of Life: 
Spicy Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Recipe Specialist: 
Spring Vegetable Tart
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Ceviche Appetizer
Red or Green: 
Taos Cowboy Caviar
Creative Culinary: 
Avocado and Orange Chopped Salad with Orange Honey Mustard Dressing
Swing Eats: 
Greek Spinach Casserole (gluten-free)
Dishin & Dishes: 
Deviled Egg And Avocado Dip
Daily*Dishin: 
Perfect Deviled Eggs 5 Ways
FN Dish: 
5 Fuss-Free Easter Side Dishes

best,
diane

I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Roasted Carrot, Onion & Garlic Mash



I first saw a version of roasted carrot mash 15 years ago in Food & Wine Magazine and have been tweaking the recipe ever since. I have added onions and garlic to the roasting pan for their sweet, smokey flavour and substituted maple syrup for the honey originally called. for. A healthy splash of extra virgin olive oil finishes the dish. When in season, I often add handfulls of fresh herbs to the carrots.  Try the mash as a side dish for Easter dinner, or pair with roasted chicken, fish, roasts or lamb. Perfect with stews. You will find many options for this easy and versatile way to replace potatoes in this warming, comfort food dish.

.

Roasted Carrot, Onion & Garlic Mash
(serves 6)
This recipe will make more roasted garlic than you will need. Use the rest in sauces, soups or just spread on toasted french bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

1 head garlic
extra virgin olive oil
3 lbs carrots, cut into large pieces
1 large white onion, cut into quarters
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon maple syrup
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulb. Place bulb on top of a piece of foil large enough to wrap garlic. Drizzle 1 tablespoon over the garlic and sprinkle with sea salt. Wrap the foil tightly to form a seal and place on prepared baking sheet. Scatter the carrots around the foil package and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of oil.  Using your hands, roll the carrots in the oil until coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven at roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven add the onions, stir to combine, and roast an additional 20-30 minutes or until carrots and onion are very tender. Remove from oven.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the carrots and onion, including any oil from the pan.. Squeeze 2 cloves of roasted garlic into the carrots. Add the broth, maple syrup and pinch each of salt & pepper. Pulse until smooth with a bit of texture. Add a bit more olive oil if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of oil over the top.

Click Here For Printer Friendly Recipe


Springtime means the start of sensational side dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network a we are celebrating Anything Mashed.. Do you have a favorite mash recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Wimpy Vegetarian: Mashed Celery Root with Blue Cheese and Watercress
Creative Culinary: 
Leek, Bacon, Garlic and Thyme Smashed Potato Cakes
Dishin & Dishes: 
Jalapeno Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns
Weelicious: 
Mashed Potato Cakes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Spicy Roasted Eggplant Mash
Taste with the Eyes: 
La Purée de Pommes de Terre de Joël Robuchon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Roasted Carrot, Onion & Garlic Mash
Red or Green: 
Cauliflower & Beet Mash with Chile Infused Olive Oil
Swing Eats: 
Italian Style Smashed Potatoes
The Mom 100: 
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Daily*Dishin: 
Mashed NotPotatoes Cauliflower
FN Dish: 
5 Crazy-Good Ways to Do Up Mashed Potatoes

best,
diane

I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.